This novella is part of The Worth Saga, and stars one of the minor supporting characters of After the Wedding. You really don’t need to have read that book, though (unless you want to, it’s good, but sad), this story stands perfectly on its own.
From the author’s website:
Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.
Then proper, correct Miss Violetta Beauchamps, a sprightly young thing of nine and sixty, crashes into her life. The Terrible Nephew is living in her rooming house, and Violetta wants him gone.
Mrs. Martin isn’t about to start giving damns, not even for someone as intriguing as Miss Violetta. But she hatches another plan—to make her nephew sorry, to make Miss Violetta smile, and to have the finest adventure of all time.
If she makes Terrible Men angry and wins the hand of a lovely lady in the process? Those are just added bonuses.
Author’s Note: Sometimes I write villains who are subtle and nuanced. This is not one of those times. The Terrible Nephew is terrible, and terrible things happen to him. Sometime villains really are bad and wrong, and sometimes, we want them to suffer a lot of consequences.
Courtney Milan is a marvel. She writes incredibly satisfying, yet informative romance novels (you are unlikely to find historical inaccuracies in her stories, unless she’s changed something on purpose) and manages to take a genre so full of tropes and frequent repetition and create new and interesting things with it. While most of her stories are about cis-gendered, heterosexual couples, she’s big on at least a supporting cast of queer characters. She’s had several bi-racial pairings, and one of her best books has a trans heroine and an Asian hero, not something you see in a lot of contemporary novels these days.
In this novella, while both the protagonists are cis-gendered white women, she manages to diversify the genre that little bit more. While m/m (male/male) pairings are getting a lot more common, in both historical and contemporary romance (so many athletes), you still don’t see a lot of f/f (female/female) stories. You certainly do’t see them about women around my mother’s age. Romance really is so much about young people, I literally don’t think I’ve ever read a story with characters who are in the later stages of their lives.
Full review here.